I grew up in a small town before regional or national banks were common (or even allowed). Banking was synonymous with community, and walking through the doors of my local branch to deposit my paper route earnings meant conversations with tellers and managers that I’d known – quite literally – my entire life.
The technology was mysterious and basic. Noisy hydraulic tubes moved deposits from an outdoor drive-through kiosk to a teller inside and then came back again with a receipt and a lollipop. A special printer out back and out of sight updated my passbook’s interest entries neatly.
Eventually, regional and national banks came to town with their fancier tools, technology, and ATM machines. I told myself I didn’t need that fancy stuff; that I was perfectly happy hurrying to the teller line after school or finding the one open branch on Saturday morning.
But that started to change when friends could stop at an ATM for extra cash – even on (gasp!) Sundays – making a day of shopping or spontaneous trips to the movies more accessible. I loved that little bank I’d known my entire life, but eventually, they weren’t offering what I wanted. The tools I desired were out of reach.
It didn’t make any sense to teenage me. Why wouldn’t my bank offer what the big ones did, making it easier to access my money when I wanted it?
Closing the Gap
Fortunately today, small-to-midsize financial institutions have caught up – and in some cases, surpassed – the big guys when it comes to technology. Not just in terms of ATMs and cash on-the-go, but access to digital banking tools as well.
The early forays into digital banking that featured separate systems for online, mobile, and text (SMS) banking have grown up. These fledgling systems used the technology that was available at the time but struggled to connect to the core and each other. As a result, they’ve gone by the wayside as unified digital banking platforms emerged.
That technical maturity makes a difference. Not just to the accountholders and end users, but to the banks and credit unions who make the leap to a modern tech stack. Here’s how:
This move from distinct digital services to a true, unified digital banking platform has leveled the playing field. The size and scale of a financial institution doesn’t need to dictate its technological prowess when the right providers and platforms are brought to the table.
Smart investments and progressive strategies by financial technology providers like Jack Henry™ have empowered banks and credit unions of any size to compete head-to-head with the biggest banks.
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